MLB Fan Support Running Rampant: Is It a Problem?

April 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

As a displaced Philadelphian, currently living in DC, I was relishing the chance to attend my first Phillies game of the 2010 season.

Yesterday afternoon, I met up with a few friends, and headed over to Nationals Park to watch the Phillies take on the Nationals.

The weather was pleasant and Nationals Park is beautiful. I certainly enjoyed myself, but throughout the game, I could not help but notice something—this did not feel like an “away” game.

The ballpark was sparsely populated and the Phillies fans clearly outnumbered their DC counterparts.

The “Let’s Go Phillies!” chants could be heard throughout the game, the Nationals’ starting lineup were audibly booed, and the Nationals pitchers were mercilessly heckled each time they had the audacity throw to first to keep a baserunner on.

I noticed that this has started to become a trend in Major League Baseball.

For years the members of Red Sox Nation have traveled far and wide to outnumber local fans at their own parks, even turning Baltimore’s Camden Yards into Fenway South for a few games a year.

This trend is far from being solely a Boston phenomenon though.

Fans from the baseball powerhouses of Boston and New York have been traveling for years, often overwhelming the local fans of their less fortunate opponents, such as the eternally miserable Kansas City Royals.

Even the recently successful teams like the Tampa Bay Rays have trouble asserting their majority when the Sox or Yankees come to town.

Nor is this strictly an American League occurrence.

On any given day you are likely to find more Phillies fans in Nationals Park, more Cubs fans in PNC Park, or more Dodgers fans at Chase Field.

Now, I know that this is purely a result of some teams being more popular than others, as is the case in all other sports in all other countries.

But my question is whether or not this is detrimental to the game.

Last week the Washington Post had published numerous articles highlighting the immense diaspora of Philadelphians who have almost overwhelmed the city and turned Nationals Park into hostile territory.

These articles, all of which portray the Phillies fans in a negative light, highlight occurrences where these Philadelphian transplants have made the game generally unsavory for the locals.

While this criticism may have more to do with the opposing fans’ actions and behavior, more so than their general presence, the animosity is still there.

I know there is no way to make all the teams equally popular, nor should this be the case. Teams are rewarded for their good decisions with success and popularity.

Baseball is a meritocracy and should remain that way.

I only wonder if there is a way for this popularity to come without the detrimental effects to local fans.

When it comes down to it though, I believe that this is not baseball’s problem, nor is it the individual team’s problem. Instead it comes down to the individual.

As baseball fans we should be able to support our team with all the passion and fervor that we can muster but we should also know when this passion has gone too far.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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